How to Build a Social Media Marketing Strategy for Your Business

Social Media As Donuts

With hundreds of active social networks, it can be tough to know where you should start when it comes to marketing a business or building an online community. To help you get a better understanding of each network, and how you can use them for your business, we put together a quick rundown on some of the top sites and services for your to build out your social media marketing strategy.

Facebook

  • Number of users: Facebook recently reported 1.49 monthly billion users with Asia accounting for 28%, Europe for 24%, USA and Canada for 17% and the rest of the world for 30% of those users.
  • How your visitors use it: Facebook is the largest platform for sharing worldwide, and when it comes to brands, users can share products and content that resonates with them. The social media platform also offers brand pages where users can interact with and review brands based on their experiences.
  • What you can do: Long-form content – with no character or word limit – gets the most Facebook shares and likes, so start writing! Encourage your fans to post reviews or stories about their experiences with your site on your brand page. Facebook is also a great platform to offer insider tips, troubleshooting ideas, meetup and event invites, and promotional offers.

Twitter

  • Number of users: As of Q2 2015, Twitter reported 304 million active monthly users with a majority of those users prevailing from Asia, North America and Western Europe.
  • How your visitors use it: Twitter was made for short commentary – 140 characters or less – and users can use it to talk about and interact with brands about their products or services.
  • What you can do: Encourage your users to tweet out a pre-written tweet about your brand letting others know why they love it, or create a hashtag to help start a conversation. Be sure to retweet others to show appreciation and respond if asked a question or tagged in a tweet. If appropriate, brands can post about what’s trending to increase visibility. The rule of thumb for Twitter is not to just talk about yourself, but to start and continue a conversation.

YouTube

  • Number of users: YouTube claims to have over one billion users worldwide with 70% of visitors coming from outside the U.S. and is broadcast in 54 languages.
  • How your visitors use it: YouTube offers users the opportunity to watch videos for free, or create and upload their own. Videos are easy to comment on, rate, and share on social media and blogs.
  • What you can do: Create videos and upload them! YouTube is a great platform for creating longer videos (as opposed to other video services such as Vine), like product overviews, tutorials, interviews, and more. People who are active on YouTube are looking to watch creative, fun and informative videos, so you have more flexibility on this medium – think outside the box to help engage their attention!

Pinterest

  • Number of users: Pinterest has 72.8 million users, 85% of which are female in the U.S., however, in Britain it skews more even, with 56% of its users being male.
  • How your visitors use it: Users pin products and content they like from the Internet so they can come back to it later. They can also organize their pins into boards around a topic or theme.
  • What you can do: Make content and product descriptions more pinnable – and more likely to drive traffic – by pairing them with beautiful images, a helpful description, and a link back to your website. Remember that pins are forever, so make sure URLs with pins are active.

Spotify

  • Number of users: Spotify has over 75 million active users, with most of its users residing outside of the U.S.
  • How your visitors use it: Spotify gives users the ability to stream and share music and playlists, as well as discover new music.
  • What you can do: Create a playlist around your website offerings. For example, if you run a cooking blog, create a playlist for “Cookie Baking” or “Romantic Dinner.” Get visitors to follow your playlists and suggest recipes that match!

Yelp

  • Number of users: Yelp boasts over 83 million monthly unique visitors, most of which come from within the U.S. but is slowly gaining popularity internationally.
  • How your visitors use it: Yelp is a place where users can leave reviews of businesses they’ve interacted with, both positive and negative.
  • What you can do: While you might not be able to persuade users to leave flattering reviews, you should encourage customers to leave reviews when you’ve provided them with an outstanding experience. Make sure you are monitoring comments and responding accordingly, especially to any negative reviews.

Instagram

  • Number of users: More than 300 million users post on Instagram – 70% of them internationally.
  • How your visitors use it: Instagram is where users can share images they take, as well as like and comment on images from people and brands they follow. It offers integrations so users can automatically post images to other social networks as well.
  • What you can do: It’s a simple way to showcase your products and drive traffic to your site, but be careful – users are not looking to be advertised to. Make your Instagram feed organic, authentic and thought-provoking. Use beautiful images and informative captions. Encourage your followers to post pictures featuring your brand on Instagram and tag you to help extend your brand reach.

LinkedIn

  • Number of users: LinkedIn has 380 million users worldwide and is used in over 200 countries and is translated in 19 languages.
  • How your visitors use it: This social site for professionals lends itself easily to connecting with other thought leaders.
  • What you can do: Post articles about your brand or area of expertise to help establish yourself as a credible source of information, as well as a potential employer to those job-hunters also on LinkedIn. But remember, businesses cannot post as themselves, it can only from individuals. So choose one or two employees or advocates to help post about your company or industry on your behalf.

FourSquare

  • Number of users: Foursquare has been used by more than 55 million people worldwide with new international support being added consistently.
  • How your visitors use it: Foursquare is an app where people can share what businesses they visit with a check-in, as well as leave reviews or tips for other customers.
  • What you can do: If you have a brick-and-mortar business, you’re likely already on Foursquare whether you’ve set up a page or not. Make sure your page contains all of the important information about your business, and encourage customers to check in and leave reviews. For a good example of a company using FourSquare well, check out Centrolina in Washington DC.

Google+

  • Number of users: Google+ has 300 million monthly active users with many users residing in the U.S. followed then by India.
  • How your visitors use it: Google+ offers users the ability to connect with others, create groups to interact with, share content, and join communities based on shared interests.
  • What you can do: Creating a Google+ profile gives users another way to find and connect with your brand online. You can post content online, and create and manage circles to help get the word out about what your business has to offer.

Quora

  • Number of users: Quora doesn’t publicly release stats on users or traffic, but the site gets an estimated 40 million visits monthly.
  • How your visitors use it: Quora is a place to ask questions and have the answers given by other users who are knowledgeable on the topic.
  • What you can do: Quora doesn’t allow brand accounts, but you can use it as an individual expert in your industry to answer questions and build credibility. It’s also a powerful tool for social listening. Learn what users want to know about your products and industry, and incorporate the answers into your strategy.

Tumblr

  • Number of users: Tumblr has 420 million users with users spread around the world, however, the exact numbers are not readily available.
  • How your visitors use it: Tumblr is a microblogging platform that offers users the ability to write short blog posts and share links, videos, and images. Users can follow other Tumblr blog, and like and reblog content from others.
  • What you can do: Tumblr skews young – 41% of their users are aged 18-34 – so if that’s your audience, it might be worth investing time on the site, or eschewing a traditional blog in favor of the platform. Visuals – particularly GIFs and videos – are popular on the network.

Snapchat

  • Number of users: Snapchat has more than 100 million daily users, with over 10 billion combined video views.
  • How your visitors use it: Snapchat is a quick way for your visitors to send quick “snaps” of their daily life, or their perspective at an event.
  • What you can do: Like Tumblr, Snapchat is another platform that skews younger (though it’s gaining popularity with all ages).  If you’re throwing an event, geo-target users with branded filters tied to popular events like musical festivals or sports games to get your name out to a wider audience.

Reddit

  • Number of users: There are 36 unique redditors (reddit editors), with over 230 million unique visitors a month.
  • How your visitors use it: Dive deep into a specific topic under a subreddit, or stay general with pop culture events and wider conversations. Redditors up/down vote content to rank higher on the topics list. Reddit is also a great way to hear opinions from experts (and not-so-experts) and create dialogues with people all over the planet. The “Ask Me Anything” series where public figures open themselves up for questioning is a particularly popular feature.
  • What you can do: Redditors are an amazing mix of people with specialties and curiosities across the board. There are likely conversations going on related to your interest, where you can engage an audience and make a name for yourself or your brand.  Great Reddit is about authenticity and sharing knowledge with the world.

Not every social media network works for every business. Be strategic about which ones you use, and where you spend the most time and resources. When implemented smartly, and through promotion of where your business is active on social with sharing and following buttons, social media marketing can be one of the most effective tools for growing your business online.

Want a cheat sheet to help you keep the differences between all these outlets? Check out our infographic, below!

Donuts!-01-1

  • KaRi

    Brilliant article!

  • Thanks – glad you liked it!

  • fakeaddressgenerator.com

    We can’t live without Social Media Marketing Strategy

  • very good and effective Social Media Marketing Strategy for Business, this is very very nice article thank you Shannon!

  • leeTronix

    Good read and interesting stats. I don’t mind twitter and occasionally use Google + but I cannot stand FB and do not use it. As for the others I am not that interested. I think social media has a very important part to play but it is not the prime focus for my personal or professional life.

  • Thanks for putting this list together. It’s quite enlightening. My favorites are FB, Twitter and Instagram.

  • Sure thing, Etieno! Glad you found it helpful :)

  • I’m glad to read your article. It’s quite effective for promoting business nowadays since people are now engaged in online marketing or social media marketing. Social sites offer opportunities that will bring exposure to your company and products or even your small business. But we must be strategic on using social media network to avoid from risks.

  • Pingback: How TV’s Top Horror Dramas Use Social Media to Engage Fans | AddThis Blog()

  • Taher K. Attarwala

    PRVATE OR PUBLIC ALL FIND TWITTER THE BEST.

  • Janet Rebecca

    Excellent blog. This blog has a lot of
    information regarding my needs. I’ll defenately put it to good use.

  • Awesome post and love the infographic!

    SMM has been huge for our agency. Creating content for our personas and promoting it on social has done more than just drive traffic, but traffic that converts!

    Going to share this post:)

  • Thanks Ryan!

  • Mohamed Nour

    cool :D

  • deihime

    I loved this post <3

  • Glad to hear it! We just posted a new article about Facebook Reactions over on the AddThis Academy that you might also be interested in :) http://www.addthis.com/academy/facebook-reactions/

  • deihime

    yeah! I was reading that before this one! thanks XD

  • Perfect!